Jodhpurs v Breeches v Riding Tights: The Differences Explained

Jodhpurs, Breeches & Riding Tights. All different types of equestrian legwear worn for horse riding, but what's the difference?

With so much choice available it can be hard to work out which style you need! Take a look at our handy guide below to find out more about each type of riding trouser:

What are Jodhpurs?

Defining Features:
Jodhpurs are designed to be worn in conjunction with jodhpur boots. They are full length riding trousers that reach the ankle. Traditionally the ankle cuffs are slightly thicker to allow for the clipping on of jodhpur clips, to hold the jodhpurs over the outside of the jodhpur boots.

Style & Design:
Jodhpurs feature a simple panel design construction. they usually have a mid or low ride waist, and a zip and fly fastening, although some childrens jodhpurs can have a pull on design with drawcord waist. They can include a self seat design or knee patches for extra durability.

Material:
Jodhpurs are usually made out of a cotton based material, this can be a thick soft cotton, or cotton-spandex or cotton-lycra blend for additional stretch. The seat is usually made of an additional layer of the same material (self-seat) or can have a suede/faux suede knee

Worn By:
Jodhpurs are traditionally worn by children (both girls and younger boys) and women. They are usually worn for riding lessons, everyday riding, and for showing.

What are Breeches?

Defining Features:
Breeches are designed to be worn in conjunction with long boots, and traditionally finish at the mid-calf so there was no bulk around the ankles. As material became more advanced breeches progressed to be full length with tighter velcro ankles, and have now moved onto a sock bottom style, made of a super stretchy lightweight material.

Style & Design:
Breeches are usually more decorative than jodhpurs, with piping, different coloured sections, and even some occasional sparkles.

Material:
Breeches are made of high-performance materials, designed to be lightweight, stretchy, and breathable, for more competent riders.

Breeches have patches of grippy material to give the rider extra security in the saddle, these can be suede leather or a synthetic material, like silicone. ‘Knee patch’ or ‘full seat’ refers to where these patches are on the garment.

Worn By:
Breeches can be worn by men, women and children, for both everyday riding and in the competition arena.

What are Riding Tights?

Defining Features:
Riding tights are the new kids on the block, and are taking horse riding by storm. These tights reach the ankle, in a modern and trendy legging style garment. Think of them as the gym leggings of the equestrian world.

Style & Design:
Riding tights give a tight, figure hugging high waist fit. They are usually pull up in design, with wide flattering waistbands. Riding tights often feature a silicone grip knee patch or full seat, as the material alone can be quite slippery.

Material:
Usually constructed from smooth, sculpting, ultra-stretchy fabric. Summer designs are lightweight and can include mesh panneling for extra ventilation, winter designs can be fleece lined for extra cosiness.

Worn By:
Riding tights are designed to flatter the female form and are worn by girls and ladies. They are ideal for everyday riding, training, mucking out and grooming.

Riding Legwear: Extra Features

Here's some great features to look out for in riding legwear:

  • Silicone Grip/Grip Seat/Sticky Bum - whatever you call the ‘grippy’ material (usually silicone or suede), this is designed to give you extra security in the saddle.
  • 4-way stretch – material that has 4-way stretch is the most comfy to ride in, allowing you flexibility in all direction. It also helps the garment to keep its resilience and bounce back after being stretched.
  • Sock bottom – this is thin, lightweight, and often perforated fabric at the bottom of breeches, so there isn’t too much bulk under your long boots.
  • Moisture management – if you're working hard with your horse the chances are you'll get a bit of a sweat on. Moisture management technology in fabric helps to efficiently move any moisture to the outer of the fabric so it can evaporate, leaving you cool and comfy.
  • Quick dry material - does what it says on the tin, whether you've splashed through a water jump or the heavens opened on your ride, you'll dry off quickly!
  • Softshell outer – this material is water repellent and wind resistant - perfect for keeping you warm and dry on those winter rides.
  • Cooling technology – mesh panels, perforated sections, and breathable fabrics, to keep you cool in the warmer months.
  • Warming technology – fleece lining insulation and water/wind resistance materials to keep you warm in the winter.
  • Pockets – zip secured, envelope closure and slit pocket provide different levels of security for your belongings. They can be on the front, the back, and on the thigh of the garment.
  • Belt loops - mostly found on breeches or jods, meaning you can add a belt to complete your outfit and secure your legwear.
  • Wide waistband – as well as being super comfy, a wide waistband helps to provide a more flattering shape at the waist, and provides support to your back and your core.
  • ‘V’ in waistband – not only does this add comfort, it also allows for multi-direction stretch for all hip shapes and sizes so your legwear will give you the perfect fit.